Type to search

Hiding Injuries Is a Preseason Ritual

Coaches get surly this time of year. Here’s what the head coach had to say to the media the other day.

“I told you guys when I first got here, I would try to be as transparent and honest as I can and I will, but there are certain things that I’m not going to tell you… Also, because if I played him and he got hurt, you guys would be killing me in the press. So I’m always going to protect the players.”

Except… this wasn’t Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy – though it might as well have been. It was Minnesota Viking head coach Mike Zimmer doing his best McCarthy impression.

This all came about when Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater failed to play in last week’s preseason game against the Seahawks. Zimmer tried to pass it off as his decision. When Bridgewater didn’t make any throws on the two weekend practices that followed, however, the truth quickly came out – as it inevitably does – that Bridgewater has shoulder soreness. On Tuesday, Bridgewater confined himself to throwing a few dozen short and medium-length passes in practice.

The Vikings, by the way, are hurting at quarterback. Backup Shaun Hill had also missed practices before returning on Tuesday. The third-stringer, Taylor Heinicke, is recovering from a severed tendon in his foot, a non-football injury. Joel Stave, the undrafted rookie from Wisconsin, has been getting first-string snaps in recent practices. Finally, Brad Sorenson was added to the roster last Saturday – stoking Viking fans’ fears over the extent of Bridgewater’s ailment.

Unlike during the regular season, coaches aren’t required to issue (truthful) injury reports during the preseason. Coaches like McCarthy, Zimmer, and Bill Belichick take full advantage. However, they do so at considerable cost to their credibility – and to good relations with the media, the critics, and the fans.

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. Kato August 24, 2016

    Who cares about credibility with the media. Quit bawling. I would rather an opponent doesn’t know about a minor injury on one of our players and doesn’t try to exploit it.

    1. PF4L August 24, 2016

      Fair enough Kato, but please give 1 or 2 real player examples, so i can better understand what a minor injury is. To me, a injury keeping players out of practice, and preseason games is not minor. We often view a hamstring injury as minor, but as we see, it can keep players out for months, and months, and they could even lose their job because of it.

  2. PF4L August 24, 2016

    Yea…..It’s gamesmanship people.

    It’s not like they don’t think you or anyone else should know. It’s not like they’d ever mis-diagnose, and make themselves look foolish. You fans have to understand, you don’t have a right to know, or question anything. The sooner you people realize that, the better.

    You don’t win NFCCG’s and get to the Superbowl as often as the Packers do, by not acting like arrogant pompous asshole’s. You fans need to learn something about respect, the Packers won a Super Bowl, so therefore, you do NOT question them.

    GAMESMANSHIP…There is no other way…Deal with it.